Press Association Press Association Sport understands the big-spending French club has finally formalised its interest in the former Lille midfielder, but that the offer was swiftly rebuffed. Speculation has been mounting for weeks that PSG would make a move for the France international this month despite manager Laurent Blanc’s earlier indication that they would not. Pardew has repeatedly warned that he may not enjoy the same lofty status at a bigger club, and with a trip to the World Cup in Brazil to come this summer, the midfield playmaker knows he needs to be playing regularly to secure his place in the national team. However, the manager now faces a potentially uncomfortable final few days of the window waiting to see if PSG, or indeed anyone else, are prepared to up their bid. Carroll, of course, left St James’ Park on deadline day, leaving Newcastle no time to sign a replacement, and contingency plans have been drawn up to avoid such an eventuality once again. Montpellier’s Remy Cabella, while not a direct replacement, is firmly in their sights, although the French club are insistent that he will not be sold this month. Borussia Monchengladbach striker Luuk de Jong too remains a target, but Ashley and director of football Joe Kinnear are determined only to do business if it makes financial sense. However, amid rumours that Manchester United are ready to battle them for the 28-year-old’s signature, they have fired the initial shot in a battle which could run until the end of the winter transfer window. Arsenal tested the water during the summer with a £10million bid which came nowhere near matching Magpies owner Mike Ashley’s valuation of arguably the club’s most prized asset. Newcastle’s asking price is understood to be well in advance of £20million and whether PSG come back with a further approach which prompts Ashley to think about selling remains to be seen. The current offer would represent a handsome profit on the £4.3million the Magpies paid Lille for Cabaye in July 2011. However, having emerged from the furore sparked by Arsenal’s interest in August, he has once again become the linchpin of Alan Pardew’s team and the Magpies boss is desperate to retain his services. The 52-year-old, who has spent much of the last two transfer windows insisting he does not want to sell any of his leading players, nevertheless knows there is a point at which a decision would have to be made, and that that would not be down to him. But just as it took a cheque for £35million to persuade Ashley to part with striker Andy Carroll in January 2011, so too will it require a similarly outrageous offer this time around. Cabaye has recently spoken of his contentment on Tyneside and there seems to be no particular appetite on either side to engineer a move this month. Newcastle have rejected a bid of £14million from Paris St-Germain for Yohan Cabaye.
By Tony CozierON its own, Brian Lara’s 213 against Australia in the second Test of the 1999 series appears as simply another in the long list of exceptional performances by a batsman as brilliant as any the game has known. For a host of reasons, it was much, much more.“In its context, with due deliberations and apologies to George Headley, Sir Garry Sobers and a host of other greats, I cannot identify a single innings by any West Indian batsman in our 71 years of Test cricket of such significance,” I was moved to confidently assert at the time. Nothing since has changed my judgement.No captain had ever been under such pressure; never had West Indies cricket been in such a state of crisis. Lara had been placed on probation for the first two Tests by the WICB, which warned that he needed “to make significant improvement in his leadership skills”.The trouble could be traced back to four months earlier, when Lara and his team had remained ensconced in a London hotel, refusing to leave for their momentous first Test series in apartheid-free South Africa until they sorted out their grievances over pay and terms with the WICB.On their insistence, board president Pat Rousseau flew in from Jamaica to hear their complaints. After stripping Lara of the captaincy and planning to pick an alternative team, Rousseau backed down so that the tour proceeded, if a week late.West Indies were thrashed in all five Tests and six of the seven ODIs. Lara, already established as the most exhilarating batsman of his time, averaged 31 in the Tests and 11 in the four ODIs he played.A month later, in the first Test against Australia at the Queen’s Park Oval, his home ground, his fate seemed sealed when he was dismissed for 3. West Indies were swept aside for 51 in the second innings and thrashed by 312.At the toss in the second Test, Lara told Steve Waugh, “This could be the last time I’ll be doing this.” By the close of the first day, another trouncing appeared inevitable. After restricting Australia to 256 in their first innings, West Indies limped to 37 for 4. Lara survived; he was on 7 as he carried nightwatchman Pedro Collins with him into the next day.What followed was sheer wizardry. Overnight, Lara was seemingly touched by some magic wand that transformed the timidity one had seen in South Africa into the assertive self-belief that had been his hallmark. Against bowling spearheaded by his long-time adversaries Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, he was in command throughout the next day, moving past his first hundred for 27 innings and carrying on to his third double.Lara reeled off strokes of every variety in all directions; there were three sixes and 29 fours. At each of his landmarks, an invasion of the ground by dozens of jubilant spectators sent him scampering for escape – at 200, all the way into the dressing room.The Australians didn’t claim a wicket in the 90 overs. Collins kept going for an hour until a blow to his midsection from McGrath caused him to retire. Jimmy Adams replaced Collins and remained Lara’s virtually anonymous partner to the close. Lara ended the day on 212. Adams, his fellow left-hander, on a vital, if hardly noticed, 88. Inspired by their captain’s mastery, West Indies would not be denied. They scuttled the shocked Australians for 177 the second time round; three runs fewer would have ended in an innings defeat. Mike Coward wrote in his Wisden report: “Lara seduced the people of a bankrupt nation, resurrected his career as a batsman of rare gifts and reignited cricket throughout the Caribbean.” It was, he added, “by universal consent one of the great Test innings”.In only one respect was his judgement premature. Two weeks later, at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, Lara’s unbeaten 153 clinched victory by one wicket and sent West Indies ahead in the series. It was by universal consent even greater. But it was the 213 that sparked the counter-attack. (The Cricketer)
After a successful arrangement of traffic details and a slight change of the tour route for stage 2, (85km Cape Coast to Takoradi) which is traditionally plagued with difficulties in traffic control, the tour saw a fiery start, from the University of Cape Coast main gate to the finish line at Sarbah Road, Takoradi.Despite the intensity of attacks and counter attacks by the riders, the hotly contested race ended without any motor incidents and injury casualties as in the previous edition (2012).“This was a combative race, and it is what we need in Ghana to step up the level”, said George Ado, Chief Commassire of the Tour.Young Stars dictated the pace of the race immediately the officials flagged the cyclists into action. However, Emmanuel Sackey of All Stars had other ideas as to who dictates the early pace of the peloton.He quickly kicked out of the bunch with a 100m lead, but a group of young stars riders decided to closely follow. John Zormelo, a veteran rider, who rides for Quick Steps also wanted to lead, so he burst out of the peloton as they all engaged in series of attacks and counter attacks until they reached Elmina Beach Resort junction.After passing Elmina, Samuel Anim and his team mates took the lead, as his team mates formed a wind break around him to reduce the pressure on him. The lead of Young Stars and their ‘El Capo’ was short lived, as the peloton was reunited at Bronybima. Almost all the teams relied on the attack and counter attack strategy to weaken each other and test each other’s physical strength and endurance ahead of the first ‘Point chaud’.As the bunch came within reach of the ‘Hot Spot’ (point Chaud), at Essaman Junction, where points are awarded, Samuel Anim kicked out of the bunch to the other side of the road to enable him sprint without impediment, Isaac Sackey was quick to follow his team leader but Emmanuel Sackey of all stars was hot on their heels. Anim had enough power in his legs than the latter to clinch the first ‘point chaud’.Zormelo, the veteran rider, who would be retiring this year, tried his luck again by immediately attacking after the first hotspot, which was 14km into the race. The old fox tried as hard as he could to breakaway, but his efforts yielded no dividend. He was swallowed by the bunch just 1km into his adventure.The more energetic Godwin Dzheha of City Migro succeeded in breaking away at Nyame B3kyere but his lead ended at Enyinase by Christian Adiabo, Moro Amadu and Samuel Anim, all from Young Stars.At Komenda, 27km into the race, Jerry Alormenu (City Migro) started a promising burst out of the Peloton but it lasted only 2km before the bunch caught up with him. Finally, at Kommenda Sewfi the peloton split into two. Victor Cudjoe, All Stars, a strong contender for the white Jersey, led the first peloton. They tried their best to chase down Jerry but he retained his lead by kicking harder. Nevertheless, a kilometer later Solomon Nartey (HM Cycling) broke out of the peloton, he emerged as the new leader.At the second hot spot (Beposo), Samuel Anim, Emmanuel Sackey and Aryittey Akoto (City Migro), broke away from the bunch, swallowed Solomon and sprinted to first, second and third positions respectively.The attacks and counter attacks continued until 50km into the race, when the raised green flag by the officials, signaled the commencement of feeding.Prosper Agbo (City Mirgro), an experienced rider; Christian Adiabo (Young Star’s assistant captain) and Joseph Kudakpo (Die Hard) broke away from the bunch with a gap of 300m. This was the longest sustained break away of the day.As the big three broke away, they worked together to maintain a fast and steady pace upfront, even though they represented different teams. 60km into the race, Christian fell and had to change his bike, eventually the peloton swallowed him.Straightaway after Christian’s fall, Joseph and Prosper kicked harder, to keep their lead.8km later, hell broke loose on Prosper, his front tire got punctured.Being the lone ranger up front, Joseph knew glory was within his reach as they approached Takoradi Police Station. The Peloton roared behind him and closed the gap to 100m.With 50m to end the race, Joseph kept peeping behind, he ‘hit the wall’ and subsequently fell prey to Samuel Anim, Tetteh Francis (city Migro’s lead Rider), Henry Tetteh Djamah (Defending Champion), Adan Mohammed (River Pack Sunyani) and Aminu Mohammed (National Cycling Team Captain). They all emerged from the peloton 50m to end the race and over took Joseph, who could only watch helplessly as they passed him. “I miscalculated the race but I’ll correct that tomorrow” Joseph said looking disappointed.At the end of Stage 2, Samuel Anim won his second stage victory of the tour thus far. He kept the Yellow, Green and Red Jersey he won the previous day. Tetteh Djanmah placed third closely behind Francis Tetteh, who came in second.Antony Boakye continued to keep his white jersey for his exploits as the best young rider so far.Stage 3 is the longest distance of the entire tour (145km: Assin-Fosu to Kumasi)